Technology is carefully interrelated in such a manner today that I find once I succumb to using one tech item, sooner or later I must adopt another, ad infinitum. Frankly, I think I can hear conversations exchanged between all these communication devices. Today, I think I heard a cell phone I was using chuckling with the ATM which had tricked me, over what a fool I'd been made of, and now the borrowed cell phone (since I didn't yet have one of my own) was going to rescue me from my dilemma, thus proving how we humans cannot survive without any of them.
My day began innocently enough as I awakened to the sound of grass being mowed, hedges being trimmed and power blowers chasing leaves, all manned by those hired to aid those less able to do all that themselves. I remember as a young girl the days before all this power equipment and having to use an old-fashioned push mower -- I was the power. I have no nostalgia to return to those days. Once I had a home of my own, my husband and I (mostly my husband) prided ourselves in performing our own yard care as did our neighbors.
Then, something happened in our neighborhood. We all became older or health changes occurred. Next thing we knew the better part of wisdom dictated letting someone else perform those yard care tasks. Gone are the days when the neighborhood boys wanted to earn a few extra dollars, so we could hire them to assist with yard care to supplement their newspaper delivery route income. Boys don't even deliver newspapers anymore, adults deliver the papers now from their cars. Even teenage girls are rarely available for babysitting, for by the time they're old enough and mature enough for that responsibility as sophomore to senior high school students, they no longer are interested in such employment. I'm told babysitters today are often Jr. High School age girls from sixth grade through ninth. I would never have allowed a child that young to sit with my babies and young children.
But I digress as I am prone to do. I retrieved the morning papers from the drive, noticing this was a lovely warm Southern California Fall day. The sky was blue, now, streaked with white clouds, a delight to the eye, compared to the dirty tan and ashy gray we had seen with the recent Southern California fires. The atmosphere appeared clear, but I knew invisible particles and respiratory irritants were still present in the outdoor air, since my voice continues to acquire an every so slight raspy quality daily with much exposure to outdoor air. The fires east of here are still not quite contained.
As I readied for my day, I took personal pleasure in the fact I had planned and executed well some routine periodic tasks the day before, involved in caring for my auto, such as the regular oil change, tires rotated, a cleansing wash and wax to rid the exterior of damaging ashes plus any other residue from recent fires, along with having the auto interior cleaned. They also washed all the little round yellow drops off the surface of my car. Just as a side note, I've been wondering for weeks what the round yellow drops were. I just read in the L. A. Times that research had confirmed they were from bees and were pollen associated, but not as everyone had thought. They were in fact: bee "poop" processed pollen. Who knew.
I decided on breakfast out, taking along my usual newspaper to read, which was my plan following performing a number of errands before going to work around the lunch time hours. Prior to leaving the house I had completed my regular end of the month reports and paperwork which I would copy at the nearby printer, then drop off at our local office. With some errands completed, I cheerfully arrived at the ATM, inserted my card, entered the requested information as usual, then inserted the check I definitely wanted credited to my account that day. I also needed to withdraw some cash from my account.
On the screen, up jumped the little flashing dots that raced one after the other horizontally in front of me, then started over again, while the printed message above said "Processing..." Nothing more happened after that, the "processing" continued with those increasingly maddening little flashing dots repetitively racing nowhere. Finally, striking the "Cancel" key in an attempt to retrieve my card and check, I discovered, nothing changed -- "Processing" and those now irritating flashing dots continued as before.
What to do? I wasn't about to leave the machine with my card and check inside, my account open, should the ATM suddenly finish processing and spit them all back out, leaving my account exposed for whoever might appear there next. Several people came by, but beat a hasty retreat as soon as I explained there appeared to be a cash machine malfunction. They turned a deaf ear to my queries about how to get to a phone to report this dilemma to the bank while safeguarding my ATM card and check lost inside the machine. Privately, I dreaded making the phone call, as I knew it meant reaching a recorded message offering me umpteen different choices from which to select and then after a likely interminably long wait, to actually talk with a human being (probably on the other side of this continent, but, hopefully, not outside the country.)
Finally, some good hearted soul came by, was sympathetic to my plight, offered me her cell phone without my asking. Later I learned she was a nurse on her lunch hour which I inadvertently caused her to spend with me. Who says health care workers are insensitive to other people any more? As expected, the bank person I reached with the cell phone was located elsewhere and was quite unfamiliar with my community. I carefully made certain he didn't mix up the name of my city with another pronounced the same but spelled differently, as I had long ago learned the hard way was a mistake often made by others with undesired results.
This bank representative elicited needed personal information, so I'm spewing out my most private security data to which the cell phone lender was privy. (There is no privacy any more as someone keeps telling me, and I keep getting convinced regularly.) The Rep then gave me assurance my deposited official bank check would be credited to my account at the end of the day when they closed out the machine, thus covering checks previously written for which I did not want to be overdrawn. My card having been devoured by the ATM would be cancelled and I would receive a new one within days in the mail.
I repeated what an earlier party who had stopped by the ATM to commiserate with me (but could offer no further assistance,) advised me to do, simply because I liked the way what he said sounded and it made me feel more in control. I told the bank official I would hold the bank personally responsible for any charges that might occur against my account as a consequence of this if all he promised didn't happen and I incurred financial loss.
Then, just when I thought the matter was finished, the bank person transferred me to another employee, to which I had the joy and pleasure (I am being sarcastic) of going through much of this again -- their "Loss and Claims Dept." or some such title. Whatever happened to the days when one employee could take care of everything? I normally would have been writing employee names and promises down, but was unable to do so, and by this time the poor nurse is telling me, "I have to go back to work now," so she needed her phone returned. As she quickly departed, I didn't even get her name or where she worked to offer more than the verbal "thanks" I gave her. I sure hope she had lunch before she came to do her banking which she obviously didn't get to complete.
This is about the third new ATM model installed in this location as they keep "improving"(?) them. Well, I haven't liked this latest model from the beginning, partially because there's much less privacy since it takes any checks that are being deposited, then displays them on the big screen, anyone around could easily see. After this little event today off I went to complete more of my errands, including a newly added stop at my bricks and mortar bank to which that ATM belongs. Also, by going there, I increased my comfort level by double checking to see if I needed to advise my "real" bank directly, as I think of the "bricks and mortar" one, to insure no problem (there was no need to do so, I learned.) I finally got that extra cash I needed. I decided to provide my assessment of this new ATM -- a not very pleasant appraisal -- to my friendly local banker while I was there.
Imagine my surprise when he commiserated with me, saying he had managed to keep that new ATM model from replacing the several directly outside the bank because he had learned the new model had entirely too many unresolved problems. He said he hopes by stalling, that within the next few months they'll get the problems with this new model resolved, because he knows that model will ultimately be installed everywhere. Whatever happened to working out technical machine problems BEFORE putting them into use? They seem to do a lot of that premature releasing of tech equipment -- letting customers work out the bugs.
My banker advised me not to use that ATM any more that I used today, or others placed out like that (it's in the front of what was my deli in a solid connected series of store fronts in a small shopping center.) He also said to avoid the lone standing ATMs in stores or elsewhere, instead to transact ATM business through my grocery store check out clerk. Or, come directly to his and other brick and mortar buildings using their ATMs, or the tellers inside the bank.
I said having to drive myself now for banking, defeated my carefully laid plans for later life independence. First the bank did away with my brick and mortar branch, then they finally put in this ATM 'cause so many people complained. Now, I learn it's best to avoid that ATM. I told him I had discovered not long ago, my residence was positioned so that I was located within walking distance of just about every service I might need, should I ever reach a point where driving a car was no longer possible, and that I liked the idea of living in place as I aged.
I added, I thought it was quite likely that a number of increasingly aging adults were also interested in aging in place. Therefore, we need nearby good safe reliable places whereby we can transact our banking business. I didn't mention my bank wasn't the first to thwart my goal, since a few years ago my local deli closed, which is where they put this ATM and gave the rest of the building to the last thing we needed -- a nail salon and tanning booth.
He suggested I should consider banking on line, and he would like to teach me how to do so securely. Maybe the time has come to check into that, too. Not all checks can be deposited automatically though, nor can I retrieve cash from my computer,so guess I still will need to get to my bank sometimes. I expect to be able to do so for a lot of years to come, but you never know what can happen. Can't plan too far ahead these days, so who knows what will develop with my expectation to live in place here in my home, or how the neighborhood will evolve.
I don't like the idea of banking in my supermarket, but... I guess I'd better consider investigating banking online, but ... I think before this year ends I'll get a cell phone, but... I don't really need it that much and I still want to keep my land line. Did I mention right after the ATM fiasco I walked two doors down and picked up a cell phone catalog at my local Verizon store, co-incidentally re-opened today, and listened to the salesman's pitch? I'll consult with my kids for the real scoop.
I'm not going to use that ATM anymore, but... do you think it knew that I didn't like it? Was there some sort of conspiracy in the airwaves between the cell phones in the re-opened store and the ATM? Then, I remembered the date 10/31/07 -- that the day was Halloween. Those darn goblins! The way things were going, I decided not to go out to the pumpkin patch last night to watch for "The Great Pumpkin," just in case the goblins might turn up there. Maybe next year.